October 24, 2019

Warren, Pressley, Sanders, and Colleagues Seek Strong, Long-Term Funding for Community Health Programs

With Funding Set to Expire, Lawmakers Call for 5-Year Extension of Community Health Center Fund and Other Programs

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) led 85 of their Congressional colleagues in sending a letter to Senate and House Leadership urging them to provide a five-year extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. The lawmakers' letter comes as funding for the programs is set to expire on November 21.

The CHCF allows community health centers to provide a wide range of medical care to more than 28 million people in thousands of communities nationwide. Through loans and grants, the NHSC places thousands of medical professionals in the highest need areas of our country so they can provide primary medical, dental, mental and behavioral health services in underserved communities. Additionally, the 56 Teaching Health Centers around the country support over 700 medical residents currently training to provide healthcare services to an estimated one million patients annually in underserved rural and urban communities.

"We believe that Congress must immediately secure additional funding for these critical public health programs and urge swift action before November 21 to ensure continuous access to medical training and health care services for all who need it," the lawmakers wrote in their letter. "Together, these programs serve as a crucial supply line to meet our nation's growing demand for primary care physicians."

The lawmakers urged Leadership to provide a five-year extension of the CHCF, NHSC and THCGME, noting that the programs have long enjoyed bipartisan support and play crucial roles in delivering primary and preventive health care to America's most underserved and vulnerable communities. Specifically, the lawmakers called for robust funding increases to the programs over time-like those envisioned in the Community Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act-to afford these programs the predictability and stability they need to train and recruit providers, purchase equipment, expand services available to patients, and plan strategically to meet the current and future needs of patients.

Joining the lawmakers in sending the letter are Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and 77 of their House colleagues.

Senator Warren has consistently advocated for increased community health center funding and was a leading voice in the Senate in 2017 when Republicans allowed CHC funding-along with other primary care programs-to expire.